The Monuments Men

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William A. Lovegrove ( 1902-1970 )

Artist and diplomat, William A. Lovegrove was born in New York on March 21, 1902. His studies in the fine arts began in Paris at a young age. In addition to a graduate degree from the École des Beaux-Arts, he also studied sculpture at the Sorbonne and the École du Louvre. His sculpted works were exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs, and in New York at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Grand Central Art Galleries.

Lovegrove enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1942. His work with the MFAA began in 1945, when he was stationed in Paris with the SHAEF Mission to France as a liaison with the Commission de Récupération. He arranged the exhibition, Les Chefs-d’œuvre des Collections Privées Françaises Retrouves en Allemagne, which featured French-owned works of art stolen by the Nazis and recovered by the Monuments Men. The wildly successful show was placed on display at the Jeu de Paume in Paris from June to August 1946. For his assistance in the restitution of French art, Lovegrove was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government.

Lovegrove remained in Europe as Chief of Museums and Libraries for the Allied Military Government for Stuttgart from 1948 to 1949. He then began a long career with the United States Information Agency (USIA), which included his assignment as Cultural Officer in Germany until 1955. During the next decade, he served as a Cultural Attaché for the United States in locations around the world. He was based in Cairo from 1955 to 1960, Athens until 1961, Washington, D.C. until 1963, and, finally, Vienna from 1963 to 1966. Following his retirement from the USIA in 1966, he remained in Vienna as Secretary of the American International School and consultant to the 1969 Festival of Vienna. The following year, he became Executive Secretary for the European Council of International Schools. Lovegrove and his wife, Isolde Oden, were among an elite circle of friends, including George Balanchine, John Steinbeck, and Julia Child.

Bill Lovegrove died in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 25, 1970.